The Norwalk boys basketball team limited an opponent to 40 points, shot the ball well and were even or better in essentially every key stat in Tuesday’s SBC Lake Division game against Clyde.
But in the end, it was the offensive combination of Garrett Obringer and Garrett Chapin that broke a 31-31 tie and led the Truckers to a 52-40 win over the Fliers at Norwalk High School.
With the win, Norwalk improved to 7-4 overall and 5-1 in the league. The Truckers are in a second-place tie in the loss column with the Fliers (4-4, 3-1) — one game behind Sandusky (10-0, 5-0) — entering Friday’s league game at Perkins.
The Fliers were held to 15-of-45 shooting (33 percent), including 10-of-29 from inside the three-point line.
“I thought our team defense was exceptional,” Norwalk coach Steve Gray said. “We did a great job of contesting shots at the rim. Ian Minor came in and was very active around the basket in particular and was able to alter some shots.”
Clyde — which led for just 12 seconds in the 32 minutes — tied the game at 31 on a basket by Jaden Cook with 7:21 left in the game.
Just 14 seconds later, Obringer was left open on the right wing for a 3-pointer and a 34-31 lead, then Chapin scored inside to push the lead to 36-31 with 6:22 left. Following a Clyde turnover, Obringer scored on a short jumper the lane to make it 38-31 with 6:10 left.
Obringer finished with 19 points, five rebounds and three steals on a 7-of-10 shooting performance.
“Will (Gehlhausen) was getting us the ball and helping create open looks, and I was able to knock those down tonight,” Obringer said. “But I think it was our defense tonight. We really played hard on defense.
“We’re a confident team,” he added. “Even though we took a tough one on Saturday (66-56 loss at Ashland), we’re still a confident team.”
The Fliers got within six (41-35) with 2:26 left on two free throws from Cook, only to see Obringer connect on his fourth 3-pointer 33 seconds later. Cook answered with his own 3 for another six-point deficit (44-38) with 1:40 left, but the Fliers were unable to score on three straight possessions.
Meanwhile, Chapin made five of six foul shots in that time to push the lead up to 49-39 with just 37.7 seconds left. Norwalk finished the game 18-of-34 from the floor (52 percent), which included 5-of-11 from three (45 percent).
“We ended up giving up a few open shots we can’t give,” Clyde coach Ryan Fretz said of the final seven minutes. “Obringer is a tough to defend with a hand in his face, but when you leave him open for a couple rotations, we deserve that. And Norwalk executed well.
“And it doesn’t help when we didn’t execute exactly down the stretch,” he added. “We through it right to a deflection one time, and didn’t run a play another time. We had four layup-type looks when it was still close — then you give up defensive rebounds to a team that can knock down free throws and we see the result.”
Norwalk outscored the Fliers by 11-9 margins in each of the first two quarters for a 22-18 halftime lead. Clyde then countered with an 11-9 third quarter to put the deficit at 31-29 entering the final eight minutes.
After giving up 58 points in a win over Columbian and 66 in the loss to the Arrows, Gray was pleased to see Tuesday’s defensive performance.
“Clyde is methodical, and we’re not the type of team that wants to sprint up and down the floor all game,” he said. “I think that had something to do with it, but a lot of it was defensively we forced Clyde to make four or five passes, and our transition defense was very good.”
Chapin finished with another double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds. He was 9-of-10 from the free-throw line and had three steals. Gehlhausen added six points and seven assists.
““I thought this was WIll’s best game of the year,” Gray said. “I thought we handled their pressure and we were good passers. I think that extra pass led to some great looks by our kids and we were able to knock them down. Garrett Obringer was very aggressive offensively tonight and had a really good game.”
Clyde won the junior varsity game with a big fourth quarter in a 36-34 win. Eli Obringer led the JV Truckers (7-4) with 10 points and four rebounds, while Drew Shope added nine points, five rebounds and four steals.
The Truckers visit Perkins (4-9, 3-4). They won over the Pirates by a 52-35 score on Dec. 13 in Norwalk.
CLYDE (4-4, 3-1)
Jaden Cook 4-3—12; Shane Hohman 2-0—6; Kaiden Olson 3-0—8; Carson Rieman 3-0—6; Caden Berger 0-1—1; Johnny Marshall 1-0—2; Jack Morison 2-1—5. TOTALS 15-5—40.
NORWALK (7-4, 5-1)
Garrett Obringer 7-1—19; Garrett Chapin 4-9—17; Will Gehlhausen 2-1—6; Kyler Lacy 3-0—6; Ryan Sowders 1-0—2; Ian Minor 1-0—2. TOTALS 18-11—52.
Clyde 9 9 11 11 — 40
Norwalk 11 11 9 21 — 52
3-point FGs: (C) Hohman 2, Olson 2, Cook; (N) Obringer 4, Gehlhausen
JV: Clyde, 36-34